The Best Grout Removal Tools for DIY Renovations

Make grout removal faster and easier with the right tools for the type and extent of your home improvement project.

Best Overall

ENERTWIST Oscillating Tool with its accessories on a white background

Enertwist Oscillating Tool

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Best Bang For The Buck

Coitak Tile Grout Saw with three extra blades on a white background

Coitak Tile Grout Saw

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Best Electric

Regrout Tool Electric Grout Remover scraping some white floor tiles

Regrout Tool Electric Grout Remover

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Taking on a home improvement project is exciting, but removing grout—the dense material that fills gaps and seals joints, most commonly on tiled surfaces—can quickly dampen a DIYer’s enthusiasm. Old, dirty grout is one of the main offenders in making a bathroom or kitchen look shabby, so swapping it out is a great way to refresh your space.

While grout removal is typically a labor-intensive process, the right tools can make things go more smoothly and speedily, and send you on your way to the satisfying aspect of the project, grout replacement. Read on to discover the best grout removal tools in their select categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Enertwist Oscillating Tool
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Coitak Tile Grout Saw
  3. BEST ELECTRIC: Regrout Tool  Electric Grout Remover
  4. BEST CORDLESS: DeWalt 20V MAX XR 3-Speed Oscillating Tool Kit
  5. BEST RECIPROCATING: Milwaukee M18 Cordless Sawzall Reciprocating Saw
  6. BEST ROTARY: Dremel 4000 High-Performance Rotary Tool
  7. BEST MANUAL: ReeTree Grout Removal Tool
  8. BEST GRINDER: Porter-Cable 7½-Amp Small Angle Grinder
  9. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: QEP 10020 Grout Remover
The Best Grout Removal Tool Options, Mechanical or Manual
Photo: istockphoto.com

How We Chose the Best Grout Removal Tools

To find the top grout removal tools available from reputable manufacturers and sellers, it was necessary to research each potential option thoroughly, determining which tools were the best for removing tile grout. There are a variety of tools that can be used to remove grout from tiles, which made it easy to find potential products; however, the wide selection also made it difficult to narrow our list down. To help choose the top tool, it was necessary to consider its weight, whether it comes with a blade, the type of blade, the type of tool, and the suitability of the tool for grout removal tasks.

Preference was given to lightweight products with one or more grout removal blades. Stainless steel blades were acceptable, but products with carbide or tungsten steel blades stood out from competitors. In addition, a product was dropped from consideration if there was any indication that the tool could not adequately remove grout.

We reached out to professional contractors for their insight as well. “Manual grout removal tools are great for small-scale projects or situations where precision is paramount,” says Kristin Hintlian, co-owner of Bonsai Builders, remodeling specialists in Spencer, Massachusetts. “On the other hand, electric grout removers offer speed and efficiency, making them ideal for bigger projects.” She says oscillating multi-tools are often used in her business. “They are compatible with both sanded and unsanded grout and adjustable to tackle different grout line widths. The variable-speed setting helps us tailor the tool’s aggression, minimizing tile damage.”

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Choose the best grout removal tool for your next renovation project from these leading products.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Oscillating
  • Accessories: 33-piece kit with blades, sandpaper, and more
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds

Pros

  • Versatile and affordable power tool makes light work of removing tough grout
  • Easy-to-use tool-free blade-change system and choice of 6 speeds
  • Comprehensive kit means the same tool can be used for many different DIY tasks

Cons

  • Branded replacement blades can be hard to find, though “universal” types should fit

Grout removal can be tough without the right tool, but this oscillating tool by Enertwist comes with a curved blade ideal for removing grout from between tiles. In addition, the oscillating grout removal tool includes multiple cutting blades that can be used on woodworking projects and home renovations.

The multipurpose tool weighs about 4.4 pounds, so it isn’t lightweight, but it won’t impact the user a lot. When it comes time to change the blade, this tool is equipped with a simple lever system to replace the blade without the need for tools quickly. Also, it can be operated at six different speeds with variable-speed control, though the length of the power cord limits the mobility of the oscillating tool.

Get the Enertwist grout removal tool at Amazon

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Product Specs

  • Type: Manual
  • Accessories: 3
blades
  • Weight: 4.16 ounces (including spare blades)

Pros

  • Lightweight, low-cost tool with an aggressive diamond-style blade that minimizes effort
  • Durable plastic handle is comfortable to hold and has a convenient hanging hole
  • Blade thickness of just 0.07 inch is fine enough for narrow joints

Cons

  • Best when used for small areas as it can be tiring to operate for several hours

We looked at several budget-friendly grout removal tools and found that quality can vary considerably. The Coitak grout saw is one of the better models and manages to combine low cost with ease of use. The plastic handle is lightweight, durable, and will survive being dropped from time to time. The blades have a coarse edge that mimics industrial diamonds and, depending on the effort applied, can be used for a quick surface cleanup or complete removal.

The compact size and angled head make the Coitak grout saw ideal for hard-to-reach areas, and a blade thickness of 0.07 inch is narrow enough for even very thin grout lines. For wider areas, two blades can be mounted together. Two screws allow quick changing of the blades, and three are included.

Get the Coitak grout removal tool at Amazon.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Chipping
  • Accessories: 2
tungsten carbide tips
  • Weight: 1.04 pounds

Pros

  • Dedicated professional-grade tool designed solely for rapid grout removal
  • 3 speeds and 2 tungsten carbide tips provide options for all kinds of grout lines
  • Lightweight and easy to handle with a chipping action that minimizes dust

Cons

  • Some users thought it needed to be more aggressive when tackling very hard grout

The Regrout Tool grout remover is one of few models designed specifically for grout removal rather than as a general-purpose oscillating or rotary tool. It uses a pulsing action to chip away at the grout, breaking it up rather than causing clouds of unpleasant dust.

Three speed settings provide the adjustability required for different types of grout. Two long-lasting tungsten carbide tips are provided. One has a fine point, while the other is a chisel. These are not abrasive, so according to the manufacturer, they are less likely to damage the surrounding tile. The Regrout Tool remover weighs just over a pound, so it’s easy to be precise and can be operated for several hours without causing fatigue.

Get the Regrout Tool grout remover tool at Amazon.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Oscillating
  • Accessories: 2 wood cutting blades (grout cutting blade not included)
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds

Pros

  • Powerful cordless multi-tool comes with 2 high-output 5 amp hour batteries, charger, and carry bag
  • Tool-free quick-change accessory system takes most third-party blades
  • Features variable trigger with 3 speed ranges plus useful built-in flashlight

Cons

  • Comes with a premium price tag, and grout removal blades are extra

Instead of worrying about tripping over a power cord, invest in this cordless oscillating tool by DeWalt to remove grout quickly and efficiently. The tool weighs only 2.6 pounds and comes with two batteries and a charger, so one battery can always be charged while the other is in use. It also includes two woodcutting blades but does not have a blade suitable for grout removal with the kit.The

oscillating carbide grout removal blade

is sold separately.

DeWalt added a built-in flashlight to this oscillating tool if the work needs to be done in a dimly lit area. However, neither the flashlight nor the tool can function if the battery isn’t charged. This oscillating tool has a tool-free blade change system, and the tool, blades, batteries, and charger can all fit neatly inside the included storage bag.

Get the DeWalt grout removal tool at Amazon or The Home Depot.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Reciprocating
  • Accessories: None included
  • Weight: 7.4 pounds

Pros

  • High-performance cordless tool makes short work of the toughest grout removal tasks
  • Counterbalance mechanism reduces vibration; Quik-Lok clamp makes for fast blade changes
  • Ergonomic 2-handed grip; adjustable speed helps maximize control

Cons

  • Sold as a bare tool: battery, charger, and blades are all extra

The Milwaukee Sawzall reciprocating saw uses a powerful 18-volt cordless motor to quickly remove any type of grout. Pair it with a

5-inch carbide grout rake

and take advantage of the variable-speed trigger for enhanced control—important to avoid damaging tiles. The keyless Quik-Lok blade clamp makes for fast blade changes. The saw weighs in at 7.4 pounds, which is pretty hefty and could increase fatigue. However, a counterbalance mechanism helps reduce excess vibration, and the tool’s power can help get the job done faster.

Get the Milwaukee grout removal tool at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Rotary
  • Accessories: Cutting, grinding, and sanding blades
  • Weight: 22.5 ounces

Pros

  • Renowned high-quality multi-tool with 30 accessories, including blades for narrow joints
  • Wide range of speeds from 5,000 to 35,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) allows precise adjustment to suit task
  • Light and easy to maneuver with comfortable grip and fast tool changing

Cons

  • Cordless models offer greater freedom of movement, and some accessories wear out rapidly

With a name virtually synonymous with rotary tools, Dremel clinching a spot on our “best” list is no surprise. The Dremel 4000 features a variable-speed dial that ranges from 5,000 to 35,000 rpm, enough power for unsanded or sanded grout removal.

The lightweight and ergonomic design allows for enhanced control and longer use without fatigue. Like all rotary tools, however, it can only be used on grout where the tiles are at least ⅛-inch apart. The versatile tool—sure to come in handy for glass cutting or finish sanding and grout removal—includes 30 different accessories, two attachments, and a carrying case.

Get the Dremel grout removal tool at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Manual
  • Accessories: 4 blades
  • Weight: 0.24 pounds

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight with ergonomic soft-grip handle; is also very affordable
  • Durable tungsten steel blades can slice through all kinds of grout
  • 3 tip profiles designed for fine, moderate, and deep tile penetration

Cons

  • Spare blades seem impossible to find, so the whole tool would need to be replaced

For small grout removal jobs and detailed work power tools can’t manage, the ReeTree grout remover is a superior choice. Its tungsten steel tips can handle both unsanded and sanded grout.

There are three tip shapes designed for fine, moderate, and deep penetration between tiles, while eight sharpened scraping edges increase efficiency. The ergonomic grip and 13-inch length make it easier to clean hard-to-reach places while minimizing fatigue. Unfortunately, we could not find spare blades, so if they wear out, the whole tool must be replaced.

Get the ReeTree grout removal tool at Amazon.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Rotary
  • Accessories: None
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds

Pros

  • Powerful tool capable of tackling heavy-duty grout removal indoors and out
  • Cast metal gear housing and sturdy build ensure durability, yet price remains competitive
  • Side handle can be set in 3 positions for maximum control at different angles

Cons

  • Precise control can be difficult; not practical for hard-to-reach areas

For big, tough grout removal jobs, this angle grinder from Porter-Cable boasts a powerful 7.5-amp motor perfect for sanded and epoxy grout (indeed, it’s too much tool for unsanded grout). The 10,000 rpm of force quickly cuts through even tough grout, and the sturdy design means it’s built to last.

Masonry cut-off wheel

is sold separately.

At 3.5 pounds, it’s around half the weight of many reciprocating saws, letting you work longer without tiring. A wheel guard helps protect your face and hands while you grind away, but expect a lot of dust—as you’d find with any angle grinder. Care is also required not to damage nearby tiles.

Get the Porter-Cable grout removal tool at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Tractor Supply Co.

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Product Specs

  • Type: Manual
  • Accessories: 1 blade
  • Weight: 0.3 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight, economical tool ideal for use in hard-to-reach areas
  • Incorporates 3 different tip sizes for wide, medium, and narrow joints
  • Strong carbide-tipped blade offers sharpened scraping edges for increased efficiency

Cons

  • A few buyers felt too much physical effort was necessary, which risked damaging nearby tiles

The QEP grout removal tool has a modest 9-inch length, and the head has a triangle-shaped blade with three points for fine to moderate penetration into the grout. It also has six sharpened scraping edges to help improve overall efficiency. This grout removal tool is ideal for small grout removal jobs and is specifically suited for removing grout in tight areas and small spaces. This can include behind the toilet, under the sink, or even in the room’s corners.

It doesn’t weigh much at just 0.3 pounds, so the tool’s weight won’t impact user fatigue, but the ongoing use of this manual grout removal tool will begin to tire the user. Thankfully, the blades on the grout removal tool are carbide tipped, allowing it to pierce through the grout without much issue.

Get the QEP grout removal tool at The Home Depot.

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What to Consider When Choosing a Grout Removal Tool

The Best Grout Removal Tools Option
Photo: amazon.com

When looking for the best grout removal tool, consider some important aspects to ensure that you pick the best tool for you and your project.

Types of Grout Removal Tools

There are many methods for removing grout, but each tool has benefits and drawbacks. In general, the more powerful the tool, the more dust it will generate, so be sure to wear a face mask—and all other applicable personal protective equipment—while removing grout.

  • An oscillating tool equipped with a grout removal blade is one of the best options, and with the right blade, can be used on any type of grout. Rather than grinding grout into messy dust like a reciprocating saw, rotary tool, or angle grinder, this tool operates at a slower speed to take out larger pieces of grout using an oscillating motion. Though far faster and easier than manual grout removal, an oscillating tool takes more time and effort than a higher-powered option.
  • A reciprocating saw with a grout grabber blade is ideal for removing hard grout, like sanded or epoxy varieties. It can do the job quickly, but if you lack experience with these powerful saws—which can jump around during use and damage nearby tiles—go slowly until you get the hang of it.
  • A rotary tool with a grout removal accessory is the slowest of powered grout removal options, yet it will still kick up a lot of dust, so it’s best for smaller grout removal projects. To avoid hitting the edge of a tile with a rotary tool, ensure the gap between the tiles is at least ⅛ inch.
  • An angle grinder is a powerful tool best suited to large grout removal projects with many long, straight lines. They can easily cut through epoxy, sanded, or unsanded grout. Like rotary tools, their spinning disk requires a ⅛-inch gap between tiles to avoid damage. The main drawback with angle grinders is the excessive dust they fling into the air, quickly creating a breathing hazard, so wear a standard N95 dust mask to filter out particles.
  • A manual grout removal tool generally consists of a handle and blade with varying degrees of shape and ergonomic support. They make grout removal long, hard, and tedious work, so only rely on them for very small projects with unsanded grout or for cleaning up tile lines after using a powered option.

Manual vs. Mechanical

The size and time frame of the project will determine whether you use manual or mechanical grout removal tools. Note that the mechanical tools mentioned here have various uses beyond grout repair, such as cutting and sanding.

  • Manual grout removal tools can be employed for small projects, like a powder room floor or a kitchen backsplash. They also come in handy for precise detail work, such as removing fine deposits left on tiles after a power tool removes the bulk of the grout. A grout knife for sanded grout and a carbide cutter for unsanded grout are among your options; don’t try to remove epoxy grout with a manual tool.
  • Mechanical grout removal tools are faster and better suited to large projects. Less powerful options, like an oscillating or a rotary tool, easily cut through unsanded grout. In contrast, more powerful options like a reciprocating saw or angle grinder will handle sanded and even epoxy grout.

Blade Material

Blade material becomes important when working with tough grout types, like sanded and epoxy grout.

  • Carbide blades are the go-to for most grout removal tools as they are both moderately priced and hard enough to handle the toughest grout.
  • Tungsten steel blades are harder and pricier than carbide options, but they work fast and are especially good for dealing with a lot of epoxy grout.
  • Stainless steel blades, the softest, cheapest option, aren’t effective for hard grout. Use them for unsanded grout removal or to clean up tile edges.

Type of Grout

There are three main types of grout you’re likely to encounter, and they range in difficulty to remove.

  • Unsanded grout is most likely seen on tiled surfaces such as walls and showers in newer homes. It’s easy to penetrate with a manual removal tool, even with a stainless steel blade. If going mechanical, stick to lower-power options like an oscillating or rotary tool to reduce the risk of damaging tiles.
  • Sanded grout is usually found on floors or outside settings of older homes. Very dense and solid with a primary component of silica sand and cement, it’s difficult to remove manually and should be tackled with a mechanical solution and a carbide blade.
  • Epoxy grout, the hardest, coarsest type, is typically used in the showers of swimming pools and gyms, though it’s starting to gain popularity with residential tiling contractors. If a manual grout removal tool barely scratches the grout in question, it may be epoxy-based. A powerful tool such as an angle grinder or reciprocating saw should be used to remove epoxy grout.

Additional Features

The extra features of grout removal tools range widely. Mechanical tools may have speed options, trigger locks, built-in LED lights for better visibility, and convenient carrying cases. Manual options include ergonomic grips, replacement blades, and variable-blade tips for fine, moderate, or deep penetration.

FAQs

To make sure that you have all the information you need to choose the best grout removal tool, take a look at these commonly asked questions about grout removal and the detailed answers below.

Q. What is the easiest way to remove grout?

Ease of use often depends on how familiar the user is with the specific tool, so it’s difficult to state what method would be the easiest for everyone. Still, one of the easiest options for removing grout is to use an oscillating electric grout removal tool.  The oscillation movement pulls out large pieces of grout instead of grinding through several layers with a Dremel grout removal tool or dealing with the power of a reciprocating saw.

Q. Can you remove grout by hand?

Learning how to remove grout by hand isn’t difficult, but the process is time-consuming and takes a lot of physical effort. Many manual grout removal tool options are available, so find the tool that best meets your needs and then use it to scrape, break, and remove pieces of grout from between the tiles.

Q. How deep should you remove grout?

If you are removing grout with electric grout removal tools, manual tools, or using a specific grout removal attachment with a multifunctional power tool, it’s important to know that you only need to remove about ⅛ inch of grout to embed new grout between the tiles. However, if the existing grout is broken, chipped, cracked, shrunk, or otherwise damaged, it should be removed.

Q. Do I have to remove all grout before regrouting?

No, if the existing grout is in decent condition, then you only need to remove about ⅛ inch of grout to regrout the tiles. However, any damaged grout should be completely removed and replaced.

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Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.

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